It’s 1975. The Millgarth Incident Room is the epicentre of the biggest manhunt in British police history. Follow Sergeant Megan Winterburn as she joins hundreds of officers working around the clock to find the man known as the Yorkshire Ripper. With public pressure mounting, the investigation resorts to increasingly audacious attempts to catch one of Britain’s most notorious serial killers. From the award-winning creators of Secret Life of Humans and Down and Out in Paris and London, New Diorama go behind the scenes and investigate the case that broke the British police force. David Byrne from New Diorama spoke with The Fountain about The Incident Room and his plans for this month.
TF: You are performing at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, how exciting?
Opening large new devised shows at the Edinburgh Festival does not get any less terrifying.
TF: The Incident Room certainly sounds intriguing, what is the premise?
The audience join us at the epicentre of the biggest manhunt in British police history. In 1975, Leeds, Sergeant Megam Winterburn joins the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper, the case that will change British policing forever.
It’s New Diorama’s most ambitious show, premiering at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe ahead of a run in London and New York.
In The Incident Room we don’t show or describe the murders, or even meet the murderer. What fascinates is how a crime like the Yorkshire Ripper murders can define an era, and define everyone it touches.
TF: And what drove the project, where did your influences lie?
The co-writers Olivia Hirst and David Byrne came across the case separately.
Olivia is from Pontefract, West Yorkshire, where her Mum lived and worked in Leeds during the investigation. Growing up the shadow of such an infamous period of history, she can’t remember a time when she wasn’t aware of the Yorkshire ripper attacks.
For both David and Olivia, this story is about the cultural significance of this case, the way it still impacts the way we live our lives and the way we police in this country.
TF: Have you been to the Fringe before, is there anything you are keen to see whilst in Edinburgh?
We have all been to the fringe before in our various guises. We’re all really looking forward to seeing the Underbelly Untapped winners in action, Tokyo Rose by Burnt Lemon, Conspiracy by Barrel Organ and Art Heist by Poltergeist. Also shows like Smoke and Oakum’s Such Filfhy F**ks and Emergency Chorus’ Landscape (1989).
TF: And what are your future plans beyond The Incident Room?
The Incident Room itself is coming back to London for 2020 as part of New Diorama’s next season as well as transferring to New York in 2020. But come and see it first in Edinburgh.
David Byrne brings his show The Incident Room to Pleasance Courtyard as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, from 1st – 26th August at 4.30pm.